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Yugoslavia: Montenegro's Prime Minister Quits Party Post

Belgrade, 25 March 1997 (RFE/RL) - Montenegro's pro-Western prime minister stepped down today as vice president of the ruling socialist party.

The Montenegrin independent Montena-fax news agency says Milo Djukanovic resigned after coming under criticism from members of his Democratic Party of Socialists of Montenegro during a two-day party meeting.

Djukanovic angered his fellow party members with his Western orientation. The 35-year-old prime minister pushed widescale privatization in Montenegro, Serbia's smaller partner in what remains of Yugoslavia.

He has also been at odds with Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic for his efforts to integrate Montenegro back into world financial institutions, independent of Belgrade.

Though economic sanctions for Yugoslavia's role in fomenting the Bosnian war have been lifted, it still remains barred from international financial groups.

Reports say Djukanovic's resignation was likely to be followed by his ouster from the Montenegrin government.

An official statement is expected later today.